Tim Krul has come right back into top form under Steve McClaren, after having a poor time of it under interim coach John Carver last season, and Tim again made a number of top class saves on Saturday against Arsenal, just as he had at Old Trafford.
And Chancel Mbemba was back at center-back, with Steven Taylor being unlucky not to keep his place, but Chancel put in another good game of positional play and strong tacking as the Newcastle defense again looked strong and resilient.
Tim Krul saves from Theo Walcott on Saturday
Both players were included in the Premier League Team of the Day for Saturday, when eight of the ten league matches were played.
Tim Krul has been at Newcastle now for ten years now and while he has been a little frustrated over the last two years – there is no way this man wants to leave Newcastle, and he’s looked what he is this season – a top goalkeeper.
He was our Man of the Match on Saturday with 37% of the vote followed by 21 year-old Chancel who picked up 17% of the vote.
Chancel Mbemba tackles Francis Coquelin on Saturday
Chancel Mbemba cost us around £8.5M, and he could turn out to be our best buy of the summer, and not only is he a very good player but his attitude is and temperament are also first class.
In his interview immediately after the game he came across as so positive about Newcastle and the way we played, and he said every player was proud to wear the Newcastle shirt.
Gini Wijnaldum was third in the voting with 10%, and he is coming into his own, and played another strong game for us in central midfield, where he looks strong, and of course is a class player with good leadership skills.
Fabricio Coloccini has played two excellent games against the Red Devils and the Gunners, and the pleasing thing is his experience alongside the still learning Mbemba.
The two look like they can become a top combination in central defense for Newcastle, where we look much stronger than we did last season.
The coaching staff have to take a lot of credit for that, as we are becoming a side who will become hard to score against and therefore hard to beat as the season goes on.
We hope that’s the case.
Florian Thauvin was fifth in the voting with 7%, and the 22 year-old Frenchman worked hard and offered some real skill up front, but with Mitrovic sent off early in the game, we couldn’t see that combination of a pinpoint Thauvin cross met by the head of the 20 year-old striker.
Florian has made a very decent start to his Newcastle career, with three good games for Newcastle since he signed for us from Marseille, and he’s already looking like a good buy.
Newcastle only have 2 points from the first four games against top eight opposition, and we’ll have to try to win at West Ham and at home to Watford in the next two games, to start to move up the league table.
We will not have too many players away on International duty over the next couple of weeks, so it’s a good time for McClaren and the coaching staff to get some work in on the training field, before we play at West Ham in two weeks time in the Monday night game.